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by Jennifer Brozek
Review: Shadows of the Emerald City
Type: Anthology
Pages: 325
Editor: JW Schnarr
Publisher: Northern Frights Publishing
Rating: 5 of 5

Sometimes it is not enough to return to childhood favorites and simply enjoy them. Sometimes, those of us with just the right twist to our brains, like to return to old stories and reread them in a new light…an emerald light…tainted by something wholly evil and corrupt. This is exactly what JW Schnarr did as the editor of Shadows of the Emerald City anthology from Northern Frights Publishing.

Shadows of the Emerald City showcases nineteen stories set in the fabled land of Oz. However, this is not the Oz your grandmother grew up with—or you for that matter. Seen through the refracted lens of a broken emerald, this Oz is not a land of Technicolor dreams you would want to visit. It is filled with familiar people in unfamiliar roles that make you cringe, wince, gasp and turn the pages even faster.

JW Schnarr hit it out of the park with this collect of macabre, dirty, perverse, corrupted stories. I have never paused while reading to say, “That is so f’d up!” so many times before while reading an anthology. And I meant in the nicest way possible. Though, nice is not a word to be used with this anthology—ever.

Not every story is a homerun but there are no duds in this book. Not one and, for me, I’m amazed. I usually don’t like all stories in an anthology. However, those stories that stand out, really stand out.

DR WILL PRICE AND THE CURIOUS CASE OF DOROTHY GALE by Mark Onspaugh – This opening story of psychiatry and finding a place in Oz left me with my mouth hanging open and shaking my head. I turned to my husband, saying, “If all of the stories are like this one, you won’t see me until morning.”

TIN by Barry Napier – This is a lovely and wicked tale of how the Tin Man came to be and what his original purpose was… and what it becomes once the Wicked Witch gets hold of him after a long sleep.

THE FUDDLES OF OZ by Mari Ness – This story reads like the old versions of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. It made me smile in delight of such strange creatures and shiver at their eventual fate. This story reminds the reader that there are things far worse than death in the lands of Oz.

Shadows of the Emerald City is a page-turner but it is best not to read this anthology all in one sitting. Each story has different take on Oz so sharply it will cut you long before you notice the blood. Savor it, enjoy it and then put it away and dream of any land other than Oz. Oz is not the place you remember behind your rose-tinted glasses. All you have to do is take those glasses off and read. Then you’ll see what I mean.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 14th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
I actually thought of submitting there but didn't have a concrete idea in time. Nice to hear it was decent.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )